LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 25, 2014) — Employees at the University of Kentucky are taking advantage of a new health benefit called “LiveWell Check In,” which enables them to get a “snapshot” of their overall health status — and an extra $100 in their paycheck.
Announced earlier this month in a series of emails from campus leaders, early response to the program has been overwhelmingly positive. More than 500 employees signed up on the first day. In the first two weeks, that number had grown to 2,000. All regular employees working half-time (0.5 FTE) or more are eligible to participate.
“We want to ‘see transformation’ in our culture on UK’s campus, as we support employees getting closer to their wellness goals,” said Andrea Deweese, a wellness specialist with UK Health and Wellness who serves as team lead on the LiveWell Check In project. “We will meet them wherever they are, with no judgment and no expectations, just support.”
Eligible employees can sign up online for a Check In appointment at one of 20 convenient locations both on and off campus, with slots available from now through Dec. 19. It takes about 10 minutes to complete the online registration and questionnaire, and the Check In itself takes only 20 to 30 minutes.
Employees enrolled in a qualifying UK health benefit plan are eligible for a $100 incentive, in the form of a plan premium rebate on the employee’s pay statement, just for completing the Check In.
When an employee visits a Check In site, a Check In specialist (or “guide”) will greet them and ask a few questions about their current health concerns and goals. The guide will also record the employee’s height, weight and blood pressure. A quick “finger stick” blood test provides information about blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Visitors to a Check In will also receive valuable information about a wealth of health improvement benefits available to UK employees free or at very low cost. These include on-campus gym memberships, classes for stress management, weight loss/management and tobacco cessation, group fitness, gym memberships — even individual consultations with a registered dietitian or exercise specialist.
A secure online portal, which employees can access by logging in with their myUK linkblue credentials, enables LiveWell participants to view a “snapshot” of their health status, and to track their progress toward individual health goals through a visual dashboard-style interface. Individualized follow-up is available, with employees determining the level of feedback they want, and how they’d prefer to be contacted.
It’s all part of what the program leaders call a “conversation-based” approach to health promotion.
“The Check In is special because it’s so much more than just a screening,” Deweese said. “We see the participants as the experts on themselves — their needs, schedules, preferences and readiness to change. In most screenings the participants are just told what they need to do differently and are expected to walk out and just do it. We see the Check In as more of a two-way conversation, where participants can get the information and support they need in order to make positive changes in health behavior.”
The LiveWell Check In program builds on the success of two previous UK health promotion initiatives, Healthtrac Rewards and Wellness on Wheels, which ended last year. Unlike Healthtrac Rewards, a third-party vendor-supplied program, LiveWell Check In was developed at UK, to better integrate the entire spectrum of health promotion expertise and resources available on campus. So far, Deweese says, employees seem to appreciate the more personal touch that comes with a program designed by UK employees for UK employees.
“Participants are noticing the difference from our screenings in the past and are liking it,” she said. “They feel listened to instead of talked at. They know we’re here to help them along the way, no matter where they are in relation to their goals.”
One early adopter, Matt Presby, a billing coordinator for UK Analytics and Technologies, said the Check In was more user-friendly than other health screenings he has been through.
“I thought the health screening was much more personable and intuitive,” Presby said. “They actually have time to listen and address your problems and go over what you need to work on.”
UK Police Chief Joe Monroe says he and his department have already benefited from the new program.
“The LiveWell Check In program is an initiative that we support 100 percent at UKPD,” he said. “We feel that this is just one crucial piece in the wellness puzzle to promote healthy living and reduce health-related problems, both in and out of the workplace.”
There is no deadline to register. However, appointment slots are limited and will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis, so employees are encouraged to secure their preferred Check In time now. To learn more about LiveWell Check In or to sign up for an appointment, please visit http://www.uky.edu/hr/wellness/exclusive-offerings/uk-livewell-check-in.
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